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Do you feel that the Wii U deserves the derision? [roundtable]
 
Jargo's filthy porn thread has no heat, so I'm going to repost and expand this over here.

... as a roundtable.

It's a little strange to me that the Wii U has already acquired the stench of failure, along with all of the webbenfreude that comes with it. Take that, Urban Dictionary! Although I guess it's actually not that strange, since there are a lot of factions in gamedom (Western third-parties, much of the gaming media, 'hardcore gamers') that always seem to be waiting on pins and needles for the Big N to fuck up. Irrational paranoia? Maybe. Regardless, the stigma is unfortunate and somewhat unwarranted. I think that the Wii U hardware/features, in general, are very well executed. The Wii U does what it sets out to do very well (aside from a few technical issues, like the transition times). And the things that it sets out to do (Miiverse, off-TV play, backwards compatibility, asynchronous multiplayer) are pretty neat and progressive in a truly useful way. Of course, very little of that charm can be communicated through words. I think that if more people actually got their hands on the system in a proper environment, they would genuinely enjoy it. It's a neat piece of kit that does feel somewhat like the future, or at least one possible future. (That said, I tried an in-store demo kiosk the other day, and it was pretty terrible. The Gamepad is tethered to the TV by a super-thick, restrictive coiled wire. It really killed the feeling of freedom and just made me want to stop playing. Kind of the same problem that Wii kiosks had.)

The real chink in the system's armor is the third-party support. You've read the articles. You've seen the release schedule. You know what's up. It's like the Wii, except we're not even getting low-budget attempts at innovation anymore. We're just getting ports of varying quality, the occasional multiplatform title, and... nothing. As with the Wii, Western third-parties seem to have made a self-fulfilling prophecy about the system's performance in the market. But, UNLIKE the Wii, the Wii U doesn't have the gonzo sales to attempt to combat that prophecy. Nintendo's only recourse at this point seems to be to publish more and more first- and second-party games. But will that be good enough to attain success. Is there ANY way that Nintendo can get decent support from Western third-parties? The situation in Japan isn't great, either, but at least that has the potential to change. Western support, I'm not so sure about.

Anyway, you've all heard of these things before. But now that more and more (worrying) information has started to leak out about the competing consoles, 'old-fashioned, stuck-in-their-ways' Nintendo is starting to look relatively pro-consumer.

- Full backwards compatibility
- Free internet services, including media streaming
- Used game capability
- Easy expandability
- Tons of truly exclusive software
- Off-TV play
- Day one downloadable retail games

So my question is: Are the people who are gleefully mocking the Wii U right now going to just bend over and take next gen? Will they sacrifice their rights as a consumer in order to play... I dunno, that Star Wars game? Will they keep paying extra for season passes and special editions? Will they pay MS a subscription just to be able to use basic features? Will they allow massive third-party publishers like EA to run the poker table? To slowly exsanguinate them with a constant, steady stream of nickel-and-diming?

I think the answer is... probably.

This rambling mess was brought to you by Nintendo.

It could also easily turned into a similar diatribe about the Vita.

Oh, and also, everyone might just go PC, instead. But probably not.

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Posted: 02/13/13, 22:15:07  - Edited by 
 on: 02/13/13, 22:16:49
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Haha the porn thread was -3. Now the whole world knows!
Posted: 02/13/13, 22:16:30
Oops. No wonder it had no heat!
Posted: 02/13/13, 22:17:26
DAMN IT ZERO! I knew I was missing good -3 stuff.

I think the Wii U will be fine once it gets it's first killer app for core gamers. That is to say, something GOTY caliber that is exclusive to the Wii U. The idea that it could just be a competitor with multiplatforms has basically evaporated at this point. It's going to take exclusives to get people to take it really seriously. To that end, it is doing well and it will only do better. I'd say the best candidates for this are going to be the usual suspects: 3D Mario, Smash Bros., if both of those falter I guess it would fall to Zelda or some unknown title.
Posted: 02/13/13, 22:23:56
Yeah, we'll get Nintendo games, and it'll sell to Nintendo fans. Worst-case-scenario, we get an N64/Gamecube-level library. But the thing is, I want to see interesting third-party games on the system. I want to see what people come up with for the second screen. I want to see how it can evolve traditional game types. The Wii sold a shit-ton of units, but it never really fulfilled its potential. Wii U seems even less likely to do so.
Posted: 02/13/13, 22:28:40
I'm not surprised by the drama: it's the Internet. I do think it's unwarranted for the most part, and I see this as a repeat of the 3DS-Vita situation. It looked like the 3DS was in deep shit and like the Vita was going to wipe the floor with it, at least to some people. And that's really just because the launch was botched and the support took a little longer to come, plus Nintendo had to implement some much-needed improvements on its fledgling system. Once they did, the 3DS became a lot more attractive, and as it turned out what troubled the 3DS initially also troubled the Vita, so the gloating from haters was unwarranted.

Replace 3DS with Wii U and Vita with MS and Sony consoles above.
Posted: 02/13/13, 22:31:14
As to the substance of your post, it's all about expectations. As far as I can tell Nintendo has delivered on everything they've promised. But, people, particularly people who feel like Nintendo has turned their back on them, have a whole set of other expectations that they never seem to give up, no matter how much evidence shows it's not likely to happen.

They want top of the line graphics (even though Nintendo never has actually had top of the line graphics) and support from the big name Western developers (even though Nintendo never actually had support from many of the current big name Western developers). You'd think that when it was revealed pretty early on that the graphics wouldn't be close to top of the line (seems like 720 and PS4 won't be either), people would just move on, but instead they feel betrayed. They also seem to feel like Nintendo owes them a seemingly constant flow of Mario, Zelda and Metroid. So when those games aren't at E3, it's a disaster.

I've thought often before about writing an editorial called "Nintendo owes you nothing" directed at these people, but I suppose it's not worth the effort.

Regardless, if you saw what Nintendo actually said they would give you with the Wii U and you were interested in that and bought it, I honestly can't see how you could be disappointed at the momen, except for the fact that we still don't have a Pikmin release date (or Game & Wario for that matter). That is kind of irksome. But the console delivers on its promise, for sure.
Posted: 02/13/13, 22:31:19
I dunno. How much derision is the Wii U actually getting? The only semi-professional guy I listen to about video games anymore is Gui and he called the Wii U launch something like "The greatest launch lineup for a Nintendo console ever". So, as far as I'm concerned, the Wii U is getting nothing but glowing praise.

Do I think the Wii U is giving us a roadmap to the future? Not really. It's got some neat tricks up its sleeve. I like the feel of the controller. I like the asymmetrical gameplay. Nintendoland is sorta fun. But it really is the Wii 2, in that it trades off power for its other innovations. And there's a bit of a "Fool Me Twice, Shame On Me" aspect to the Wii brand, I fear. One thing people around here seldom discuss is whether casual Wii owners understood, before they purchased their Wii, that the console was underpowered compared to the competition. Anecdotally, I know a few unhappy Wii buyers who didn't understand that. Well... they figured it out eventually and at least one of them sold it back. That's one customer that ain't coming back. How many are out there?

As for the competition, who knows at this point? Even if they have strict, closed systems, if they have the right games, then I imagine that's where people will go. Apple has had closed systems on their iOS platforms for years. Hasn't stopped people from buying them. The real question, though, is whether that will scale up. Because the price of an iOS app is significantly different from the going price for GTA V. I wouldn't say it's a sure thing for Sony or Microsoft, but it's not necessarily a non-starter, either.

I don't think you can start patting Nintendo on the back for looking out for gamers, though. One, it's largely a result of them continuing to lag behind their competition in hardware. Two, I think if there's any company that would make a quick move to close their system, it's Nintendo. If it's not a disaster for Sony and Microsoft, I wouldn't get my hopes up that Ninty would hold out on doing it, too.

I love Nintendo, but I think they've made a lot of mistakes over the last few years. I take no pleasure in pointing that out, but I think it'd be silly to deny it.

EDIT: And Jargon's full of crap.
Posted: 02/13/13, 22:33:08  - Edited by 
 on: 02/13/13, 22:36:21
@Stephen

Yeah, I agree with this. If anyone was a Xbox fan the beginning of the 360 was the same way. System was bashed left and right for not being "truly next-gen" compared to the PS2, as hilarious as that is now. Really didn't break into its own until Gears of War came out.
Posted: 02/13/13, 22:34:36
I can't remember who here said it, but a poster here said in another thread that devs want a one console industry very badly. I think that may be true. But unless that one console is a Nintendo console, that is not going to happen. And devs DO NOT want that one console to be a Nintendo console. I'm really starting to think that this is what's at the heart of the issue. Devs want Nintendo out of the way as a hardware manufacturer. They want to be able to define the future of hardware, not Nintendo. It's ultimately about control, not sales, not system power or any of the excuses that devs have been feeding us for three generations now.

It's about control. And the best way to undermine Nintendo is to give them half-hearted support or not support them at all.
Posted: 02/13/13, 22:37:09
I've seen a lot of doom and gloom about the sales, but people who actually own the system seem quite content. It truly has to be experienced to understand what it's all about. I think once more games come out (the heavy hitters from Nintendo, starting with Pikmin 3), it will raise quite a few eyebrows in how enjoyable of a console it is.
Posted: 02/13/13, 22:39:42
What the? I don't know about any pornography thread. I certainly don't know anything about a thread with insert a bunch of porn keywords to drive traffic to the site here in it.

Anyway. I don't know what to say about the topic really. Does the Wii U deserve derision? Certainly not. It's a pretty awesome platform. BUT... I can totally see why someone who already has a PS3 or 360 (or PC) wouldn't feel too compelled to pick up a Wii U. There is no killer 1st party Nintendo game yet, and they can get most everything else on the platforms that they already have. It's not enough of a tech leap to get the GRAPHIXWHORES excited to have the "best" version of the games, and all of the neat Miiverse / etc. stuff is sort of dependent on getting into the games first and foremost. And you're right that it doesn't have the strength of sales to push more unique titles at it. I think with the Wii publishers and developers were looking at the insane sales numbers and at least thinking (whether they should have been or not) "I don't think our HARDCORE SHOOTER has a market here, but we need to try something." Eventually things dried up because not many people really succeeded in their attempts, but they felt compelled to try. The Wii U hasn't had those kind of sales, and I doubt we will see many exclusives outside of eShop titles, perhaps.

And frankly, without getting all doom and gloom here, it's tough to see how this will change anytime soon. I think the mindshare of the "core" gaming market has already shifted to the next set of consoles, and the casuals are... who knows what they are doing? Playing cell phones, we are lead to believe. Perhaps. I still think there is a potentially huge market for casuals on consoles, I'm just not sure that Nintendo has done much to get them interested. $350 and the only "casual" game is Nintendo Land? It's a weird shift from the Wii. And I don't know that Nintendo has any clear plan for how to recapture that market. I highly doubt they will go to Sony and Microsoft, even with Kinect, so I think they will be sitting there for the taking if Nintendo can convert them. Otherwise they may just fondly remember their Wii days and move on to um... watching Breaking Bad and Gilmore Girls or whatever it is that normal people do with their lives.

@Stephen I'm not sure that anyone ever thought it could compete with just multiplatforms. I think the idea was more "Nintendo + multiplatforms" based on the notion that all of the consoles will get the same 3rd party games anyway, and Nintendo could have the 1st party edge in a lot of ways. But that hasn't really happened with the 3rd party stuff, it's kind of hit and miss as to what is coming to the Wii U. I do think that it's not this completely dire situation either though, I'm sure we will see more key 3rd party announcements moving forward.

Kind of sure. For now. Though the next Sony and Microsoft machines may change that.

kriswright said:
I dunno. How much derision is the Wii U actually getting? The only semi-professional guy I listen to about video games anymore is Gui and he called the Wii U launch something like "The greatest launch lineup for a Nintendo console ever". So, as far as I'm concerned, the Wii U is getting nothing but glowing praise.

I actually felt like it was generally well-received but then I checked back on IGN recently and man... it's messy over there. Neogaf as well. I'd say it's as bad as the Wii but I think that, unlike the Wii, "core" gamers don't feel very threatened by the Wii U so they aren't as vocal in trashing it. Yet, plenty of trashing is still to be had. I'm speaking about the forums, but the media has been pretty negative lately too. NWR is kind of a rare bigger site, they actually usually stay pretty positive. Other sites though, not so much.
Posted: 02/13/13, 22:48:02  - Edited by 
 on: 02/13/13, 22:51:07
Jargon said:
Regardless, if you saw what Nintendo actually said they would give you with the Wii U and you were interested in that and bought it, I honestly can't see how you could be disappointed at the momen, except for the fact that we still don't have a Pikmin release date (or Game & Wario for that matter). That is kind of irksome. But the console delivers on its promise, for sure.
Yeah, there have been a few too many delays, but I'd rather have delays than unfinished games. The worrying thing to me is that there is almost NO interesting third-party software on the horizon. I mean, even the Wii had stuff to look forward to. Much of it turned out to be crappy spin-offs, but still...

@Guillaume
That's valid, but if the rumblings that we're hearing about Orbis and Durango are true, it's more than just a case of what's-good-for-the-goose. It won't just be the price, underwhelming launch, or post-launch drought that turns people off. Every single thing that I've heard about the Durango is like a kick directly to the teeth of Joe Gamer. But, on the other hand, the third-party support will undeniably be there. It will have FIFA, and Wii U won't.

kriswright said:
As for the competition, who knows at this point? Even if they have strict, closed systems, if they have the right games, then I imagine that's where people will go. Apple has had closed systems on their iOS platforms for years. Hasn't stopped people from buying them. The real question, though, is whether that will scale up. Because the price of an iOS app is significantly different from the going price for GTA V. I wouldn't say it's a sure thing for Sony or Microsoft, but it's not necessarily a non-starter, either.

I don't think you can start patting Nintendo on the back for looking out for gamers, though. One, it's largely a result of them continuing to lag behind their competition in hardware. Two, I think if there's any company that would make a quick move to close their system, it's Nintendo. If it's not a disaster for Sony and Microsoft, I wouldn't get my hopes up that Ninty would hold out on doing it, too.
See, I don't actually think that Nintendo is looking out for gamers (more than they have before). They're just behaving as they always do: like a fairly kind, behind-the-times old grandma who always gives you rock candy for free. I mean, some of the stuff they do is against gamer interests, but a lot of their standard behavior is quite gamer-friendly (emphasis on backwards compatibility, free online, content-rich games that don't focus on DLC), although some of that is tied into their old-fashioned attitudes. It's the context that has changed. If the other consoles actually live up to the rumors, Nintendo is going to look like fucking Santa Claus by comparison.

You have an interesting point about closing systems off, since Nintendo actually DID try to make used game sales illegal in Japan, back in the day. But I don't really see current-day Nintendo following the same path (and there's a chance that their OS won't even be flexible enough to do it!). We'll see.

The PC might genuinely be a popular alternative. Unless Microsoft succeeds in closing that off, too.
Posted: 02/13/13, 22:49:54
I love my Wii U, but I am legit worried that this will be a disaster. I echo Kriswright's sentiments.
Posted: 02/13/13, 22:54:37
@Anand

So which sort of kindly old grandma holds Xenoblade hostage for a year?

And tell me what is more important, Anand: Backwards Compatibility or the ability to play popular third-party games from the current generation? Free Online that's largely broken/non-existent or paid online that works? Content Rich Games that come out a couple of times a year, or major games that have DLC that come out every couple of weeks. I'm a gamer and I know how I'd rather have Nintendo looking out for me.
Posted: 02/13/13, 23:09:57
Webbenfreude?

Truly thou art thy master Word Smith.
Posted: 02/13/13, 23:20:43
kriswright said:
Free Online that's largely broken/non-existent or paid online that works?

I don't think that this is an accurate characterization because Nintendo's online isn't broken at all, it works pretty well nowadays... when it is utilized. It's just oddly absent from too many titles. So I think you're half right. But I'll take Nintendo's free online over Microsoft's paid online any day. Better yet, I'll take Sony's free online. Or the PC's free online.
Posted: 02/13/13, 23:21:28
@kriswright
I said 'fairly' kind! No, I'm not going to defend all of Nintendo's decisions and choices. Particularly NoA. I doubt that anyone here is currently a big fan of NoA. Although we DID eventually get Xenoblade, we still haven't gotten Zangeki No Reginleiv!!

But, as for your questions, I would say:

1) Popular third-party games, for sure (but that isn't exactly up to Nintendo and I don't really think that the issues are comparable or mutually exclusive).
2) Free online (that works well enough). I have genuinely come to think of Xbox Live Gold as absolute horseshit, and having only Silver is like owning a quarter of the system.
3) Content-rich games that come out a couple of times a year. I haven't cared for DLC in the majority of its practical uses so far, although the concept itself is fine.

I can't speak for everyone, but that's where I come down.

Have you heard the Durango rumors? What do you think about them? Are you planning to pick one up?

It now occurs to me that I should've actually mentioned what they were in the first post...

@Shadowlink
Finally, the recognition that I've always craved!
Posted: 02/13/13, 23:23:08  - Edited by 
 on: 02/13/13, 23:33:08
@kriswright
Do casuals buy consoles based on power or brand names, or do they buy console because of the games? You know the answer. Also consider that the PS4/Xbox3 will show the smallest ever leap in graphical advancement over their predecessors. I don't think the Wii U being underpowered will bite it as hard as it did the Wii, but that remains to be seen. What I'm saying is, for Wii U to be a runaway success, it needs another Wii Sports type game. Nintendo Land isn't it, unfortunately, even if it is a better game than Wii Sports ever was. I hope Nintendo has something up their sleeve, but I fear not. After all, the 3DS has much less casual appeal than the DS had, and Wii U seems on track for the same type of sentiment versus the Wii.
Posted: 02/13/13, 23:26:50
Speaking of which, I can't believe that we haven't seen Wii Sports U yet. Especially in light of EA's snubbery.
Posted: 02/13/13, 23:29:58
@Zero

"When it is utilized..." is the key, though, isn't it? I can guarantee that if either of the other two console manufacturers were in charge, we'd be able to play Fire Emblem against each other, right now. And yet, we're so condition to expect nothing from Nintendo's online plans that no one's even talking about it. (Though big props to Sakurai and Uprising's awesome online mode.)

As for being broken, I was thinking back to the Wii generation more than what's currently going on with Wii U. I do agree that Wii U seems to take online more seriously and I'm unaware of any Brawl-style problems. But, you know, we still can't play Mario Chase against each other. Can you guys imagine how much fun we'd be having playing that Metroid game against each other online? Why the heck can't we? I'd pay Xbox Gold prices to Nintendo to be able to do that. That's my basic point about online. I'd rather pay to get it than not pay and not really get it.

I do agree though that the one you gotta tip your hat to in this arena is Sony. Free online that's compatible with most games. As long as they don't lose your credit card number, they're your best friend if you want to play games online. Good work, Sony!

I don't want you guys to think I'm carrying water for Microsoft. I work for Apple, now. Microsoft can screw off. I have no loyalty to the Xbox brand. The only console maker I care about is Nintendo. That's why I get cranky when Nintendo doesn't seem to care about the things I want to see on their console.
Posted: 02/13/13, 23:33:21
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